Public and Private Schools Ready for New Year

Public and Private Schools Ready for New Year

Behavior management workshop gets high praise.

After attending a two-day seminar on behavior management, Fairfax County teachers realized that they were doing a lot of things right. They also found out they could take that knowledge and build on it.

The title of the seminar was Positive Behavior and Intervention Support. It’s not a curriculum, but rather a framework to “identify needs, develop strategies and evaluate practices towards success. It’s a framework for considering the predictability of common school problems and then using that information to create simple and effective prevention strategies.”

Directed by Mary Kelly, there were about 135 teachers in attendance. They represented elementary schools: Groveton, Washington Mill, Woodlawn, Riverside, Bucknell, Hollin Meadows, Woodley Hills and Fort Belvoir; middle schools: Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman; and high schools: Mount Vernon and West Potomac.

Because the concept relies on everybody “being on the same page,” the audience included not only teachers, but also principals, security specialists and guidance counselors.

Lori Morton, principal at Riverside, explained that this is a new initiative that started last year in Maryland and has been very successful. She was one of a group of principals who went to look at the concept and decided they wanted to apply it in Fairfax County. “This is a great way of thinking,” she said.

Across the board, comments were very positive

“It’s been wonderful,” said Cathy Rose, kindergarten teacher at Riverside.

Chris Lamb, principal at Groveton, said, “We have a good base to build on. The commitment to move forward with this program is high — we see it as a real building block. What’s new is the data analysis which shows how to target behavior.”

“It is wonderful training,” said Jon Gates, Hollin Meadows’ principal. “A lot of what we’re working on [here] will be implemented at the beginning of the year.”

Tish Howard, Washington Mill’s principal, said it “was the most useful workshop that she’s been to in over a year.”

“The thing that’s so great is that it doesn’t take time away from instruction. It overlays everything and works on common sense. We just work smarter, not harder.”

“It sounds likes something we can easily implement,” said Alma Haygood, kindergarten teacher at Mount Vernon Woods. “We already have some things that we’re looking forward to adding.”

Thomas Maher, assistant principal at West Potomac, thought that the workshop was very informative. “It gives you an analytic framework. You talk about things that you already do, but use a systematic approach to frame it. A lot of it is common sense.”

For more information, visit the Web site,

IN THE AREA OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS, Burgundy Farm Country Day School (Junior K-8th grade) has named Dia Harris as their new director of admissions and multicultural affairs. Harris will officially join the Burgundy Community on Sept. 1.

Harris most recently worked at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine as the associate dean of admissions and as the director of multicultural recruitment. This summer he also worked as a dean of residential life for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program.

Harris is a graduate of Penn State, with a BA in communications and a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a master's in education. He has also held positions at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. as the assistant director of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment, at American University in Washington, D.C. as the assistant director of admissions, and at Arthur Anderson (in Vienna, Va.) as a recruiter and manager of their summer internship program.

On another note, Burgundy Farm Country Day School's Annual Fall Fair will be held Saturday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Fall Fair, which is free and open to the public, includes events such as children's games and crafts, as well as music, sports and games, a book sale, craft fair and food booth.

There are two admissions open house dates coming up: Veterans Day Open House Diversity Open House will be held on Thursday, Nov. 11. Another will be held on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4 p.m.

For more information about Burgundy, call Kelsey Neal, admissions coordinator, at 703-329-6968 or visit their website at

BROWNE ACADEMY has also been busy. Mary Tobias at Browne Academy said that they have a new director of the Preschool and Lower School who joined them in July.

“Her name is Ann Berkman and she replaced Mickey Hamilton who retired after 15 years of service at Browne. Ann comes to us from The Spence School in New York City and joins Nikki Wilkinson (director of the Middle School and previously from St. Stephens) and Head of School Mort Dukehart (previously from the New Canaan School in Connecticut),” Tobias said.

“The diversity and community spirit I observed at the school is what first attracted me to Browne Academy,” Berkman said. “This school develops good citizens and excellent students. The education the students receive coupled with the people skills they develop is what prepares them for life after Browne Academy.”

Berkman is looking forward to building on what is already a strong foundation at Browne Academy. “The community spirit on campus and the academic excellence in the classrooms is outstanding,” Berkman said. “And the small class size allows the teachers to challenge several different levels within each classroom.”

Berkman joins an already strong academic team. Mort Dukehart, Head of School, came to Browne five years ago from New Canaan Country School in New Canaan, Conn. with over 30 years of teaching and school administration experience. Dukehart’s career at Browne has been highlighted by the school’s success in building an academically strong middle school which prepares its students for acceptance to high caliber high schools in the area.

Nicole Wilkinson, director of the middle school, began her career at Browne in 2003 after several years working at St. Stephens and St. Agnes School where she was a history teacher as well as the middle school history chair. She has also served as the director of admissions and as a faculty member at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School in Tenn.

“Both Nikki in the Middle School and now Ann in the Pre and Lower Schools bring a spirit of exuberance and commitment to young people at Browne Academy that is unparalleled. They bring to Browne Academy a passion for the education of young people that is extraordinary” Dukehart said.

Tobias also announced that their Second Annual Community 3K Fun Run and Walk is coming up Oct. 16.

“This event is open to the entire community and coincides with our annual Fun Fest, which is held on campus that same day,” Tobias said.

The Run & Walk is an event for everyone: runners, power walkers and walkers. It precedes Browne Academy’s Annual Family Fun Festival that begins at 11 a.m. and features games, rides, crafts and more.

The Browne 3K Fun Run & Walk, which will start and finish on the campus of Browne Academy, is open to all members of the community. The course goes through residential neighborhoods adjacent to the school. Pre-registration is $15 through Monday, Oct. 11 and $18 by Friday, Oct. 15. Onsite race-day registration is $20 and begins at 9 a.m. on the day of the event.

All runners and walkers who register by Oct. 11 will receive a Fun Run t-shirt. Awards will be presented to both male and female runners with the best times in the following age categories: nine and under, 10-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and over 60. Race results will be posted on Browne Academy’s Web site and on

For the younger set, Browne Academy will host a Toddler Tot at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. The Toddler Tot is a short run and walk on the campus of Browne Academy. Pre-registration for the Toddler Tot is $10 through Monday, Oct. 11; onsite registration is also $10 and begins at 9:00 am on the day of the event. All pre-registered toddlers will receive a Fun Run t-shirt. For more information, go to or or call 703-960-3000 for a registration form. Browne Academy is located at 5917 Telegraph Road, approximately one mile off Beltway exit 176A, Telegraph Road South.